Some members of the New Neighbors board at a recent potluck dinner, from left: Deena Souza, Michelle Webb, Kristen Bierwirth, Denise Lopez, Jennifer Gaffney and Catherine Rodgers.
By Catherine Rodgers
“The kindest way of helping yourself is to find a friend,” wrote Ann Kaiser Stearns. In the East Greenwich Cowesett New Neighbors Club, newcomers quickly become old friends. This social club invites women who have just moved to the area or who might have lived in our towns for years, but who are now interested in sharing friendship and interests with others.
Some folks who are house hunting in the area learn about EGCNN through their real estate agent, or perhaps they receive a membership form from in their Welcome Wagon bag of goodies, sponsored by the EG Chamber of Commerce. Others hear about the group from a helpful neighbor. One thing is for certain, the New Neighbors Club draws members from a wide variety of places, ages, and backgrounds.
Deena Souza describes why she not only joined New Neighbors, but also went on to become part of the board as membership co-chair: “I found it was intimidating for me when I moved to a new town and didn’t know anyone. New Neighbors was a great way to get established quickly and participate in some fun activities. I also wanted to help others feel welcome.”
Danielle Medina has been a member for only a few months, but has lived in East Greenwich for quite awhile. She describes why she decided to join now, despite not being new in town anymore: “The kids were finally in school full-time, and it was a good time for me to do something for myself and to get together with others who share common interests. So far I have really enjoyed getting to know some ladies at Lunch Bunch and I look forward to trying out some couples events and Book Buffs.”
Monthly meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month at the United Methodist Church, 1558 South County Trail. All meetings are at 9:30 a.m., with the exception of two evening meetings (November/ March) and a holiday dinner and spring luncheon that take place in December and June. Childcare is provided on site by the club for morning meetings.
The monthly meeting is a great place for someone interested in the club to get started. They can meet activity leaders who host weekly or monthly groups, like AM and PM Book Buffs, Walking Club, Wine Enthusiasts, Lunch Bunch, Chick Flicks, Stitch and Chatter, Tennis Club, Ladies Night Out, and more.
Rebecca Bliss, who leads the morning Book Buffs, shares what she enjoys about her group: “Without fail, I have some of my biggest belly laughs during each month’s Book Buffs gathering. The women are candid, wry, insightful and smart. I’m guessing our members span a 30+ year age range, and I find that a major strength of the group. We have different life experiences and backgrounds, but so enjoy one another’s company. And I love being exposed to different books that I likely would not have discovered on my own.”
Husbands, partners and kids can also make new friends at the numerous children and family activities that we have planned throughout the year, like an apple-picking outing or a sporting event. These gatherings are a great way for families to learn what Rhode Island has to offer. Playgroups are also offered for preschool age kids.
Monthly meetings also usually feature guest speakers from the local area. Since January is National Organization Month, the meeting will feature Kristin MacRae, owner of Organizing in Rhode Island. She will show members how to streamline their home and life for more peace and efficiency. I asked Kristin what usually stands in the way of people getting organized. She explained, “People understandably get distracted and lose focus. They don’t necessarily have the skill set needed to complete the task.” With Kristin’s tips we will surely get off on the right foot; what a great way to start the new year! Also, Dee Dee Potts, owner of Pilates West Bay, will be joining us this spring to help us get fit and learn more about this popular exercise.
Club President Denise Lopez believes the New Neighbors Club provides value to those in the community: “The beauty of the club is that there is a mix of old and new neighbors coming together to share friendship , support, and fun. Members have continued to stay on with the club for the friendships made and are then able to share their experiences and meet those new to the community. We are also grateful for the support of the local businesses that provide donations to the club to help members familiarize themselves with all the great establishments the town has to offer.”
Annual dues are $35, the proceeds of which go to fund the myriad events the club hosts each year. People interested in checking out what the club has to offer may attend two monthly meetings before officially joining the club. Hope to see you soon!
For more information, go to: http://egcnn.org/
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